Maui rum offers to help save the whales, whaling history aside
"Save the whales" is not just a rallying cry for Jacques Cousteau fans or Greenpeace anymore. It's the name of a light rum made by Haleakala Distillers
, based on Maui.
Turtles got a fundraising beer made for them in January 2004, so why not whales? Honu Beer was created by Portland Brewing Co. to raise money for the Honolulu-based World Turtle Trust; 50 cents for each case sold, in fact.
Haleakala Distillers will donate $1 to the Pacific Whale Foundation for each bottle of Save the Whales Rum it sells, or $12 a case, said Managing Director Leslie Sargent.
She and her husband, Jim, have two children, one of which attended a summer program at the Pacific Whale Foundation. "We were real impressed with the caliber of the program and the whales are so majestic -- I will never get over the beauty of the whales -- it just seemed like the right thing to do," she said.
Threads of irony come together in this donation arrangement, since Lahaina, Maui, was Hawaii's main whaling port -- and with seafaring stories come thoughts of pirates and the whole yo-ho-ho-and-a-bottle-of-rum thing.
The connotations are not lost on either Sargent, but the rum-makers "just felt like it was something we could contribute to," said Leslie.
The company, which is a joint venture of Haleakala Ranch Co. and Maui Process Technologies LLC, supports other nonprofits including the Hawaii chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving, Women Helping Women and Mana'o Radio, and schools including Seabury Hall and Carden School's scholarship fund.
Haleakala Distillers makes Braddah Kimo's Mo' Bettah Gold Rum, Braddah Kimo's Mo' Bettah Silvah Rum and Braddah Kimo's Mo' Bettah Da Bomb Rum, which weighs in at 155 proof. It also makes Maui Dark Rum and won an award last month for its Maui Gold Reserve Rum, which will be bottled late in the third quarter, Leslie said.
The rum won a bronze medal in the dark rum category at the International Cane Spirits Festival Tasting Competition in Ybor City, Fla.
"We're really proud of it. We had a lot of competition with a lot of more seasoned rums out there. We were really honored."
Both Sargents are coyly evasive when asked about Braddah Kimo's identity. The "creative inspiration" for the homegrown rums, his story appears on the Haleakala Distillers Web site. He is described as a skilled carpenter, plumber and electrician who built the distillery; whose hands are involved in every step of the rum-making process; who is shy but loves a good party and occasionally does too much tasting. He has a wife and two sons.
Kimo truly exists, say Jim and Leslie Sargent, but Jim Sargent is not Braddah Kimo, Leslie said.
Pressed for Kimo's last name, she said, "call him Kimo Kealaloa."
Kealaloa is the name of the road where Haleakala Ranch Co. and Haleakala Distillers are located.
is a reporter with the Star-Bulletin. Call 529-4302, fax 529-4750 or write to Erika Engle, Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., No. 7-210, Honolulu, HI 96813. She can also be reached at: email@example.com